How to Be More Confident in Your Body
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Becoming confident in your body isn’t just an easy three-step process. It takes time, effort, and the hard work of changing your brain! Having body confidence is a daily struggle for me. But I’m learning to overcome the negative thoughts about my body and see it for what it really is: an amazing work of God’s creation!
My Weight Story
I was a little bit chunky as a kid, and got made fun of at school for my appearance. In high school, I finally thinned out and was at an average size – but my mind hadn’t caught up! I was always dieting, exercising, and trying to fit into a smaller size jeans. Looking back now, I regret all the time and energy I wasted! I was healthy and cute, but I was ruining my metabolism and joints. As soon as I left high school, I used my new-found freedom (and the unwavering love of my now-husband) to let go and enjoy food like I’d never allowed myself to before. I quickly gained weight and found myself actually looking like what I thought I looked like back in high school.
Add in a plus-size pregnancy and health problems that just keep coming, and I had no confidence in my body at all. Not only did it look too big and squishy with stretch marks all over, it was failing to keep me healthy and pain-free. How could I ever accept this body that just isn’t working? I’ve come a long way in the last few months, though, and I’ve learned a lot. Keep reading to learn how to be more confident in your body!
What Makes You Special?
Everyone has something the like about their body. For me, it’s my eyes and my fingernails (I know it’s weird, but I’ve been taking so much biotin that they’re long and strong)! What do you already love about yourself? Maybe it’s your hips, or your ankles, or your hair. Find ways to emphasize that feature! I just got new glasses that really make my eyes stand out. And I never paint my nails because I don’t want to cover up their natural beauty! You could try wearing skinny jeans more often if you love your hips, or capris if you love your ankles. You could even experiment with braided half-up-dos if you’ve got a great mane! Don’t let a good feature go unnoticed to be more confident in your body.
I’d like to point out that I’m specifically NOT telling you to cover up features you don’t like if you don’t want to. I have a big nose that’s pretty hard to ignore, and I’ve tried everything to make it look smaller. Matte foundation, contouring… I used to dream about winning the lottery and getting a nose job! But wearing makeup made me uncomfortable and took too much time to be worth the effort for me – and didn’t really work! Those features you might not love make you, you. Even if you don’t flaunt them, don’t waste your energy trying to cover them up if you don’t want to!
Focus on Function
This one is difficult for me, because my body doesn’t always function well… Maybe you have this problem, too. But no matter what your body can’t do, whether that’s touch your toes or keep you pain-free, there are things it can do! Your mind can come up with brilliant ideas. You can communicate with others and make them feel loved. You can receive love from others. Maybe you love to cook for your family, or you work at a nonprofit, or you knit baby blankets. Whatever you do with your body, it’s worthy of celebration and needed in our world!
Talking about what your body can do brings us to exercise. Do you feel like you need to exercise to pay off the things you eat? Or that you need to try the newest fitness trend to ever be confident in your body? Instead, focus on being able to do the things your body needs to do: lifting your kids, standing at the stove, sitting comfortably at your desk… Whatever it is, focus on being able to do it well and without pain.
Going to a physical therapist changed the way I thought about how my body ‘should’ feel, and I recommend it! But if that’s not in the picture financially, any type of movement is good for you. Find something that you enjoy and you don’t have to force yourself to do. And remember, a gentle walk outside is even better for you than a CrossFit class, if that’s what you’ll do consistently!
Buy Clothes that Make You Feel Good
Don’t wait until you lose weight or get more toned to buy clothes you look and feel good in! This was a huge milestone for me. For a few years now, I’ve been too big for my raincoat. So, I just didn’t have a raincoat. I kept telling myself that I would lose weight and fit back into it before spring, then before fall, then before next spring… I was stuck in a cycle of thinking that I didn’t deserve to feel or look good, because my body wasn’t the right size.
Well, this fall, I got myself a cute raincoat from Target that actually fits! And guess what – it’s not black! Buying this new jacket has both freed me of the feeling that I don’t deserve nice new things, and I don’t start feeling guilty every time it rains! What are you holding yourself back from because of you’re not confident in your body?
Similarly to the last point, make sure the clothes you wear are comfortable! Those of us in bigger bodies often struggle to find clothes that look good and are practical. But it’s hard to be your awesome self if you’re pulling, pinching, and adjusting all day! For me, being comfortable means wearing leggings most of the time. I also made the switch from bras with underwire to bralettes. I had convinced myself that my assets needed padding, shaping, and supporting… But getting used to seeing my body a slightly different shape is worth the comfort I’ve gained!
Don’t Talk About It
How much of your daily energy is spent on your body? Documenting your weight (like I did), considering calorie counts and macros, talking about your successes and failures, always feeling guilty for something or other. Does that sound like you? Well, I’m here to tell you: stop those words before they come out of your mouth! Better yet, stop the thoughts when you notice them. Instead, talk about how good your lunch was, or how you feel pumped up after your morning yoga, or how you love how juicy oranges are this time of year. Free up your day of those crushing thoughts about yourself, and you’ll be on the road to being more confident in your body in no time!
Are you struggling with being confident in your body? What’s holding you back? Tell me in the comments!
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